Songwriters Law Seminar

On Saturday, May 15th, 2010, Beame & Mencher LLP hosted the first part of the Songwriters Law Seminar at The Living Room in New York City. Part One, entitled “Copyright & Collaboration: Protecting Your Work & Earning Money”, explored the role of copyright law to the songwriting process and the business of music publishing. The following is a small excerpt from the seminar, discussing key terms that should be considered in any Songwriter Collaboration Agreement:

There are many important terms that should be incorporated into a solid songwriter collaboration agreement. We touched upon:

  1. Division of Ownership / Income – who owns the song, what is each parties ownership interest, how will income be divided
  2. Rights to Exploit the Song – licenses that require unanimous consent, free licenses, exclusive deals
  3. Use of Individual Contribution – right to use my contribution separately from the entire work and not account to co-authors
  4. Credit – language of credit when licensing the song to third parties

The Songwriter Collaboration Agreement is such an important contract to be familiar with. Under Copyright Law, the default rule of collaboration states that each author owns an undivided interest in the entire copyright. Very often, this creates unintended consequences for all songwriters involved. It grants rights to each songwriter (which could include side musicians and your producer) that you may not want granted. By entering into a songwriter collaboration agreement you can establish specific rights and responsibilities for each party.

Part Two of the Songwriters Law Seminar will take place on June 12th, 2010 at The Living Room in New York City. Part Two, entitled “Publishing Deals (and Other Licensing Opportunities)”, will introduce the various publishing deals a songwriter can enter and look in-depth at licensing agreements in the film, television, commercial, and video game industries (with a limited discussion on mechanical licenses, which will be a subject of Part Three). To register for the Songwriters Law Seminar, click here.

8 comments to The Songwriters Agreement

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  • As a composer and songwriter, I know that your information in these seminars is vital and necessary information. Unfortunately, for those of us who are performing musicians, the hours are not convenient for attendance. Do you have intend to repeat these seminars in the future, and if so, when? As my performance begins at 7:00 on Saturday nights, the opportunities to absorb your wealth of information are impacted. Any suggestions?

  • Brian Mencher, Esq.

    Hi David,
    We’re sorry that you can’t make it to the Songwriters Law Seminar. We have not set dates to repeat the seminar, but hope to post new dates soon. My suggestion would be to either 1) read about the music publishing business (we strongly recommend “Music, Money, and Success” by Jefrrey Brabec and Todd Brabec) or 2) set up a time to meet with us to discuss your career and get answers to your questions.

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